Weekly Feature

2015-12-09 / Education

Give for Greatness recognizes Parkinson’s dance instructor

Teaching artist Cynthia Pegado has been awarded a grant through the Give for Greatness campaign to expand her work with the area’s Parkinson’s community, according to the National Parkinson Foundation of Western New York.

Pegado is one of the talented instructors who bring the joy and the physical expression of dance to a mobility-challenged audience, the foundation said in a news release. The $1,000 award will provide new opportunities for her PDdance classes and support further training for her work with those battling Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disease with an unusually strong presence in Western New York, the release said.

Symptoms include muscle rigidity, loss of balance and depression, all of which are said to be improved with engagement in dance. Pegado has received specific training for teaching Parkinson’s-challenged pupils through the internationally recognized Parkinson’s Dance Program with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn.

She offers two PD dance sessions per week throughout the year with support from NPFWNY, and her classes draw capacity groups. The release said all those attending praise her work.

“I am especially honored to be a Give for Greatness [award recipient] for my work in leading Western New Yorkers with Parkinson’s in experiencing the benefits and joy of dancing,” Pegado said.

“The response to these dance classes has been phenomenal, and Cynthia is always looking for new opportunities for taking the classes to new settings and for creating greater engagement for the dancers,” said Vicky Glamuzina, NPFWNY president.

Pegado was invited to present classes at Canalside through the summer, and there are ongoing discussions for bringing PDdance to the Riviera Theatre and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. She emphasized that even though much of the choreography can be done from a sitting position, “this is a true dance class. It is not a therapy program. Participants are regarded as dancers and not patients.”

The Give for Greatness award will help Pegado continue these offerings.

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